Oats are really good for you, especially if you have a bad tummy like I do with my Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). They are gluten free, help to lower your cholesterol and can be used in so many ways that they are a handy and versatile staple for the cupboard. There are a few varieties of oat products you can use too, so think beyond just muesli, granola and porridge. Having said that though there are some really yummy muesli, granola and porridge recipes out there, but today I’m going to show you what else you can do with them.
Oats have the benefit of being easy to work with and they keep you full for hours too. I’ve tried many other products but oats are the only ones that keep me satisfied for so long, and that’s because they are a low GI food. They are also a great substitute for wheat in a lot of recipes so that’s an added benefit for you too.
While we are on the topic of breakfast, I found a life-shattering, life-altering oat pancake recipe a couple of years ago. I’m really excited about it because it works so well and I hadn’t expected it too. I thought it would be that tasteless and dense kind of healthy pancake you can get from many of those non-wheat type flours but in this case the oats proved to be an excellent choice.
I found the recipe for Banana Oat Blender Pancakes on the Mountain Mama Cooks blog and I’ve told almost everybody who will listen about them since. I have also made them numerous times and learnt to perfect the recipe and the cooking method to suit my preferences. My tips are:
- Soak the oats in the milk for up to 20 minutes before blending if you want a thinner batter.
- The batter gets firmer the longer it is in the blender and waiting to be cooked, so I add tablespoons of extra milk to the batter when I notice it is getting too thick to pour (the oats soak up a lot of the liquid).
- I like to blend the recommended quantity of oats into the mix, but once the mix is blended I add an extra couple of handfuls of whole rolled oats to give the mix more texture.
- Once in the pan I add 5-6 blueberries per pancake and then a sprinkle of oats over the top. The blueberries get cooked into the mix and when I flip them over the grilled top with cooked blueberries and whole oats gives the whole thing a very country feel.
- The batter can burn easily as it contains honey so I keep the heat very low on my pan and cook it for longer.
- I’ve found that the pancakes don’t turn over well unless the top is sealed, so I cover the fry pan with a saucepan lid until the bottom is cooked and the top is sealed. I then flip over the pancake and leave the lid off until its done.
- The more mix you put into the pan for each pancake the heavier they become the harder they are to turn over. I make mine smaller and thinner so I can turn them over easier and then eat 3-4 of these small ones instead of having 2 larger ones.
Despite my tweaks the recipe is super easy to make because you mix it all in a blender and that makes it doubly easy to pour the batter into the hot pan. You really have to try this one out.
I wrote about how a crumble is made and how its basically a fruit compote topped with the oats in my post on What Do I Do with Overripe Fruit, so check that out that post for how to make a crumble. They are easy to make and definitely worth the effort, plus they can use up extra fruit you have lying around.
Muffin recipes are really easy to make because you don’t have to get too complicated about how you do things. You just chuck all the ingredients in a bowl, mix till just combined and then bake them in muffin trays. If you want to make muffins with oats you have 2 choices; one is to replace the flour with oat flour (see the oat flour section below) and the other is to add extra oat to the flour mix.
Recently I found these great spiced pumpkin muffins from the Cookie and Kate blog, and they have oats as part of the mix. I really love this recipe because they are simple to make, and you can either add extra savoury ingredients to make it a savoury muffin mix, or add sweet ingredients to make sweet muffins. I added some sultanas to mine and it wasn’t too sweet, so I’ve eaten them with cream cheese to accompany soup for dinner one night, and with nutella as a sweet treat with a cup of tea. These are very versatile muffins.
Other muffin recipes with oats are:
Oats and baking go hand in hand, so it’s not surprising that you can use them in muffins. Likewise, you can also use oats in biscuits and cookies – in fact there are some really awesome oat biscuits and cookies out there so I highly recommend finding a few oat based recipes. Sometimes you get that great chewy texture from adding oats to the recipe, or you can boost your fibre or the healthiness of the recipe when you add oats.
Some cookie recipes you might like to try are:
- Carrot, quinoa and oat breakfast cookies
- Healthy choc chip oat cookies
- Maple, pecan and raisin oat cookies
- Anzac biscuits
Instead of buying those mass produced muesli bars, why not make your own. I mean, these homemade oat bars can be made using ingredients you have at home like honey and butter and they will be much healthier for you because they don’t contain the nasties of the mass produced ones. And the best bit? You can find an oat bar to suit just about any taste – vegan, wheat-free, dairy-free, etc. Some oat bar recipes you might like to try are:
You can blitz oats in a blender and you’ll get oat flour. Process it until its thin enough to be used in place of flour. If its not as refined as the wheat flour you usually use don’t worry, because a bit of texture can be good for some recipes, and the extra fibre is good for you.
You can also replace breadcrumbs in a recipe by using minute oats (also called quick oats). Minute oats are just oat that have been crushed to about 1/3 or 1/4 of their original size so they cook faster. You can do this yourself in a blender or food processor but don’t blitz them for as long as you would if trying to make oat flour. Once made (or bought) you can use them like breadcrumbs in burger patties, meatloaf and meatball recipes as well as a crumb coating on meat and fish.
So if you have a packet of oats in the cupboard and you’re not sure what to do with it, or you just don’t want porridge again, why not try making some muffins or biscuits and cookies with your oats instead? Try an Anzac biscuit if you’ve never heard of them before. Or what about a great dessert with a crumble, or some oat bars to have as snacks during the week? Really, oats are a very simple and versatile ingredient and you can use them in many different ways. Hopefully today you’ve found a few new ways to use them.
Which way are you going to use your oats next? Did you find a new way of using them today? Do you have other ideas for how to use oats? Please leave me a comment below or let me know about it on Twitter @SpicedAnecdotes.